The New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance was formed in response to a diverse group of stakeholders who came together on November 29, 2011 at Rutgers University to participate in the conference "Preparing NJ for Climate Change: A Workshop for Decision-makers."
A changing climate and rising sea levels will have a devastating impact on New Jersey’s economy, the health of our residents, the State’s natural resources, and the extensive infrastructure system that delivers transportation services, energy and clean water to millions of New Jerseyans. The Alliance will focus on climate change preparedness in key impacted sectors (public health; watersheds, rivers and coastal communities; built infrastructure; agriculture; and natural resources).
On November 29, Rutgers University hosted a conference: "Preparing NJ for Climate Change: A Workshop for Decision-makers," which highlighted the devastating impacts that a changing climate and rising sea levels will have on New Jersey's economy, the health of our residents, the State's natural resources, and the extensive infrastructure system that delivers transportation services, energy and clean water to millions of New Jerseyans.
The November 29 gathering pointed to the need for undertaking aggressive climate change preparedness as an antidote to forestalling serious public health impacts, economic, ecological and infrastructure investment impacts. Even if the most aggressive efforts were underway to stall climate change, the best outcome would be reducing global surface temperatures from their projected worst case by 3-4 degrees F. In that scenario, as a densely populated coastal State, with aging infrastructure and housing stock, New Jersey remains highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Additionally, the workshop pointed to the need to focus New Jersey's preparedness efforts on key areas affecting the State's economy and quality of life: public health; watersheds, rivers and coastal communities; built infrastructure; agriculture; and natural resources. Recommendations clearly pointed to a strong role for Rutgers, as the State University, to work through a stakeholder process to build capacity in New Jersey.
As a result of the outcome of the conference, the University is serving to convene the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance. The Alliance will focus on:
- Conducting outreach and education of the general public and targeted sectoral leaders;
- Developing recommendations for state and local actions through collaboration with policymakers at the state, federal and local levels;
- Undertaking demonstration and pilot projects in partnership with the private sector, local governments, Non-governmental organizations, and others;
- Identifying science, research and data needs; and
- Developing capacity for implementation of preparedness measures and documentation of best practices.
To undertake this role, we are moving forward with the creation of a "network" of policymakers, practitioners, academics, Non-governmental organization leaders, private sector leaders and others. Facilitated by the University, this "New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance" will serve as an informal forum for exchange of ideas, projects, best practices, policy ideas and outreach and education within the State on climate change preparedness. The "Alliance" is not intended to be an advocacy forum nor is it intended to be a standalone organization. Rather, as discussed and recommended at the November 29 workshop, the "Alliance" will serve to facilitate discussion among state practitioners, leaders and policymakers on climate change adaptation issues, policies, science and strategies.
We welcome active participation in activities of the Alliance.
Read the op-ed on climate change by Rutgers University Deans James M. Hughes and Robert M. Goodman that appeared in February 23, 2011 The Star-Ledger.